Jari-Matti excels himself – Volkswagen driver Latvala takes the lead in Greece

The Volkswagen duo Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) has taken the lead in the Rally Greece.

Day two of the sixth round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) proved another extremely tough one for man and machine alike – but the three crews in the Polo R WRCs rose to the challenge. Jari-Matti Latvala put in an outstanding performance, setting four of eight possible best times on Saturday and achieving one of the top three times throughout the rally. As a result, he is in the lead in the overall standings. Andreas Mikkelsen/Mikko Markkula (N/FIN) are in a strong fifth position overall in their third rally in the Volkswagen Polo R WRC. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F), who started day two of the “Acropolis” under the Rally 2 regulations, are tenth, having completed 223.31 of the 306.53-kilometre itinerary.

Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila, Volkswagen Polo WRC, Volkswagen Motorsport
Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila, Volkswagen Polo WRC, Volkswagen Motorsport

Photo by: XPB Images

The second day of the Rally Greece really put the Polo R WRC’s technology and the three Volkswagen pairings’ driving skills to the test. Given the conditions – loose gravel, thick dust and melon-sized rocks – calculated risk-taking was the order of the day. Jari-Matti Latvala has a 1:04.1-minute lead over Dani Sordo (Citroën) and 1:43.1 minutes on Thierry Neuville (Ford) going into the last day of the Rally Greece, when the Special Stages will total 83.22 kilometres.

Quotes following day two of the Rally Greece

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #7
“It’s been by far the best day for me since I joined Volkswagen. If you’d told me after yesterday’s qualifying washout that we’d be leading the rally today, I would never have believed you. But that’s the way it goes in the ‘Acropolis’: something can happen any time and the tiniest mistake can cost a driver dear. We tried to put a lot of pressure on the competition today without risking too much ourselves. Once we were at the front of the pack, it was all about securing our lead and keeping our concentration. All in all, we put in a very sound performance and so did our team because our Polo worked perfectly. But as I say, the ‘Acropolis’ is unpredictable: we haven’t won yet and we’ll be looking to make it across the finishing line with first place securely in the bag tomorrow.”

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #8
“Our strategy is to maintain a constant performance and be there when our rivals give us an opportunity to nab points. Opening the route as the first car on the road is far from easy in the Rally Greece. Today, I found myself thinking how often my team-mates have opened specials for me this year. We have to be patient if we ultimately want to collect World Championship points. That’s our plan for tomorrow.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
“The bottom line is that everything’s going well for us. Fifth place in the overall standings is a good result in such a tough rally. But today was a mixed bag for us. This morning didn’t exactly get off to a good start. During the third stage of the day, an air hose in the braking system came detached, rolled itself up and punched its way through a brake pipe. We were suddenly left with no brake pressure – not a great feeling when you’re hurtling along cliffs at rallying speed. My lads fixed the problem during the service though, and – unlike this morning – this afternoon went really well for us, even though we had a puncture right at the end. We could take fourth place tomorrow – we’ll have to see what we can do with a gap of around 25 seconds.”

Jost Capito, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“I take my hat off to Jari-Matti Latvala. He put in an absolutely outstanding performance today. Not just because he recorded good times, but also because he took it easy on the car and calculated the risk perfectly. He more than deserves to be in the lead here at the ‘Acropolis’. I’m thrilled for him and his co-driver Miikka Anttila. Andreas Mikkelsen had a somewhat tougher fight on his hands today, but he also showed real skill. And Sébastien Ogier didn’t have an easy time of it today either. Opening the route is a huge disadvantage, especially here in Greece. Considering that, his times were excellent today – and recording the best time on the last SS was the icing on the cake. All in all, the drivers, team and cars passed today’s endurance test with flying colours. However, we need to demonstrate a lot more patience and cleverness again tomorrow to ensure a successful end to the ‘Acropolis’.”

Volkswagen Motorsport

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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Jari-Matti Latvala , Miikka Anttila , Mikko Markkula , Andreas Mikkelsen , Sébastien Ogier , Julien Ingrassia , Thierry Neuville
Teams Citroën World Rally Team , Volkswagen Motorsport
Article type Leg report
Tags acropolis, greece, jari matti latvala, mikkelsen, ogier, rally, volkswagen motorsport, wrc